Project assists beekeepers to develop resilience to resource scarcity


The project helps beekeepers like Tesfaye to enhance their creativity and come up with their own innovation.

Gender and Environment Responsive Beekeeping project is assisting beekeepers in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) to develop resilience to resource scarcity for honey production.

My name is Tesfaye Sori, a beekeeper in Baseku Ilala kebele of Arsi Negelle. I own a very small-sized arable land. Despite the fact that my wife, Bayise Nuguse, and I came from a long line of beekeepers we used to own only few traditional hives.

Moreover beekeeping was my sole responsibility as the traditional beekeeping involves tree climbing and cultural constraints, which in turn limits the participation of women. Before participating in the nine day beekeeping training provided by the Gender and Environment Responsive project, beekeeping was only a side business.

The training focused on increasing quality and quantity of honey and non-honey bee products, techniques of bee forage development, value addition and managing the beekeeping business. Luckily, the training constituted both theoretical education and practical demonstration of how hives should be constructed and managed. From this training I, for example, have learnt that one of the problems affecting beekeeping and income from the sale of honey and beeswax was the poor quality of my hives.

Arsi Negelle of the Central Rift Valley (CRV), where I am currently residing in, is characterised by long dry season, deforestation and erratic rainfall. This has resulted in shortage of important plant species including bamboo, zigba (podocurbus), wanza (cordia Africana) and bisana (croton macrostachyus) important for bee feeding honey production and preferred for traditional hive making.

In order to keep the bees from absconding their hives especially during the long dry season and enrich the resource base for beekeeping, I learnt from the training that we - the beekeepers - need to plant bee forage. Non-governmental organisations (SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and ANCEDA) have helped me to plant seedlings in and around my compound.  

During the training, I have also learnt how to make transitional beehive from locally available materials, diversify beekeeping products and transfer bee colonies. The trainers have advised us to transfer the knowledge we gained to other beekeepers. Using the knowledge I acquired from the training, I succeeded in making hives using grawa, sorghum roughage, eucalyptus leaves and inset (false banana) leaves.

The knowledge from the training enabled me to construct 28 transitional and nine box beehives from the aforementioned locally available materials and establish my own backyard apiary, thereby practicing modern beekeeping.

I am also teaching and motivating other beekeepers in my neighbourhood to start modern beekeeping, and reap its benefits like me. I am usually engaged in demonstrating modern beekeeping practices such as constructing hives and transferring colonies either at my own or other people’s apiary. This made me receive encouraging rewards from the project facilitators and earned me the title model beekeeper in my community.

For the future I wish to be able to manage my apiary site even better, become a honey, non-honey products, and hives producer, and grow my beekeeping business to become an even more prominent player in the sector. From the training, coaching and experience sharing provided by the project staffs, I have learnt that beekeeping offers a good livelihoods alternative to farmers like me who have small sized land. I am confident that I will be able to construct a bigger house in Arsi Negelle town in few years’ time with the money I am going to earn from the beekeeping business.

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Gender and Environment Responsive Beekeeping (G&EB), using beekeeping, aims to boost productivity, improve quality and diversify production of honey and other bee products, to sustainably diversify and enhance the livelihood base for 3500 women and men while contributing to environmental rehabilitation and stabilisation in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) and Gambella.

G and EB is a component of the Sustainable Development of the Gambella and Rift Valley Landscapes Programme II, implemented by the Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center/Network (HoA-REC/N), funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has the larger objective of contributing to the sustainable development and management of the Gambella and the Rift Valley landscapes, thereby mitigating conflict and enhancing food security.

The project helps beekeepers like Tesfaye to enhance their creativity and come up with their own innovation. Tesfaye made a box hive from the locally available materials and establish modern apiary.

Project assists beekeepers to develop resilience to resource scarcity